Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 08:15:21 -0600
From: "Timothy C. Frazer" mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU
Subject: Re: Per Judge Ito -- 60 major dialects of Spanish
On Fri, 24 Feb 1995, Jim Ague, ague[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]redrck.enet.dec.com, Col Spgs, CO wrote:
Ito's court today, Ito mentioned that there were 60 major dialects of Spanish
and he wanted to be sure that the interpreter could converse clearly with the
lady from El Salvador.
So how many dialects does English have? And how do you count them? How do
arrive at a cutoff point and declare, nope that just missed the "major" list?
Well, I don't think we havea satisfactory definition of "dialect" yet,
tho people are working on quantifying that. Setting that aside, American
English has, according to what we traditionally say in the text books,
five major regional dialects (e. New England, Inland Northern, North
Midland, South Midland, Southern), plus at least one varietiy of Black
English, plus various urban dialects like in NYC, plus Gullah, plus At
least one variety of Cajun, plus other foreign-languange influenced varieties
(e.g., Chicano). Some folks don't believe in Midland because its not
different enough from surounding varieties.
How many dialects in Great Britain? I don't know. Then there are
othernational and ethnic varieties, (South AFrican, Nigerian, Australian,
Indian, South African Indian,
and no doubt more). Pitcairn Island. Various pidgins and creoles not
mentioned in the above.
Answer: we don't know. A lot.